What is DNA?

System Information of the Body.

Understanding DNA

Quite similar to a working computer that is fundamentally controlled by a master chip which consists of all the information required for the functioning of the system, the human body too at its very core is based on a small component called DNA.

Let’s learn more about DNA.

What is DNA?

The complex structure of our body also incorporates a rather complex functioning itself. To begin with, the way our bodies work are different from one another. This difference is because of our genes. Genes are units that have all the instructions needed to make us who we are.

So, these genes containing the basic information that causes the distinction between individuals, are coded in sections of a larger unit or molecule known as DNA.

DNA stands for Deoxyribo –Nucleic Acid. Deoxyribo here stands for the deoxyribose sugar that forms the backbone of a DNA molecule.

Structure Of DNA

The structure of DNA appears like that of a twisted spiral; also known as the double-helix shape. It consists of a long chain of chemical structures that are joined together. It incorporates four types of nitrogenous bases enabling it to make the unique genetic code for each part and each component of the body.

Genes

As mentioned above, genes are a part of the large DNA molecules that contain the information of specific characteristics of an individual. These sections of DNA include the code that carries all the information and instructions to make a part of the body.

In total, a human being has about 25,000 genes that govern every detail of our body. So while some may decide upon the shape of our face, some others may decide as to how many toenails we would have.

A most interesting fact about the genesis that they can work like switches, and can easily be turned on or off to function as per the cells requirement.

Hence Genes can actually control everything of an individual, even the personality traits of an individual. However, some other aspects such as your body shape, weight and height may or may not be governed by genes. There is more than one factor contributing to these attributes in humans.

Chromosomes

The cells in the human body carry their genetic information in specialized structures called the nucleus. And so inside the structure of the cell, this bit of genetic information is stored in the form of chromosome pairs.

In simpler words, DNA is wounded up into bundles called chromosomes which are present in the nucleus of the cell. In particular, these bundles can contain up to hundreds and thousands of genes.

Chromosomes appear only as pairs. The human body in all has 23 pairs of chromosome. This is because we inherit a set of 23 genes each from our mother and our father resulting in a total of 46 chromosomes or 23 pairs of chromosomes.  These genes further correspond to specific character traits from both the maternal and paternal sides, of which one may be a stronger trait than the other.

As a result, the generation of offsprings may get only the stronger characteristic trait, or if there are two such offsprings then the other would get a mixed trait of both.

Fun Facts

  • Our DNA may connect us to never before places we could ever imagine, by means of tracing our hierarchical ancestry.
  • If the DNA of a person were to be unwound, then its distance would reach the sun and back in around 400 times!

Related questions

  1. What do we understand by hereditary changes?
  2.  Can twin siblings have the same DNA?
  3. Are behavioural attributes a result of inherited genetics?

Fill in the Blanks

  • The full form of DNA is _________.
  • There are ______ number of pairs of chromosome.
  • Structural shape of DNA is called __________.
  • Genes can have both _______ and ________ characteristic traits.
  • Chromosomes are present in the _______ of the cell.

True Or False

  1. DNA is round in shape:  ________
  2. A human being has about 25,000 genes in total: _______
  3. DNA consists information of how well we can behave: _______
  4. DNA is in a twisted spiral shape: _______
  5. Genes can function strictly in one way: ________

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